When a serious crime is committed in Portsmouth, investigators may have evidence from crime scenes tested in order to determine whether the evidence will produce a DNA sample. If a DNA sample is produced, the sample may then be checked in the National DNA Index System to determine whether the sample can be linked to an offender who has already been convicted of committing other crimes.
If the sample matches the DNA record of a convict who is listed in the database, police may have probable cause to obtain a court order to collect a DNA sample from the offender in the database. This may then lead to criminal charges and harsh penalties if a convict is found guilty of committing other criminal offenses.
According to the Virginia Department of Forensic Science, more than 5,500 burglaries and robberies have been solved by testing evidence for DNA at the state’s four labs since the 1990s. More than 1,100 sex crimes have been solved and more than 600 murders have also been solved as of Dec. 31, 2012, here in the state by testing evidence for DNA. Overall, more than 7,700 crimes have been solved in Virginia by using the DNA database.
DNA profiles are entered into the database when folks are convicted of certain criminal offenses. Although someone may not be a suspect immediately after a crime occurs, evidence found at a crime scene that is tested for DNA may make an individual a suspect when DNA from the evidence can be linked to an offender in the database. According to the FBI, more than 470,000 forensic profiles were listed in the database as of January 2013.
Although evidence with DNA may lead to arrests and convictions, DNA samples have also been used to clear folks of crimes that they have been convicted of in Virginia. Since 2005, at least seven people have been able to get their convictions overturned in Virginia due to the testing of DNA samples.
Source: WestEndAlexandriaPatch, “DNA proving helpful in solving cases in Virginia,” Andre L. Taylor, April 4, 2013
- Our firm provides counsel to individuals who are under investigation for committing serious criminal offenses as well as those who have been charged with committing criminal offenses in Virginia. To learn more about protecting your rights and future when facing criminal charges, please visit our Virginia Beach criminal defense attorneys page.